A Democratic Florida congressional candidate has accused Israel of systematically eradicating Palestinian homes with civilians still inside them, an out-of-context claim that is routinely used by Israel’s detractors to inaccurately paint the Jewish state as committing acts of ethnic cleansing.
Christine Olivo, a self-described "humanitarian" who is running for Congress in Florida’s 24th district, made the claim Monday on Twitter while expressing frustration that anti-Israel activism is perceived by many in the mainstream of politics as anti-Semitic in nature.
"Everyone thinks that if you side with the Palestinians then you’re anti-Semitic. WTF [What the Fuck]!" Olivo wrote in response to an article about the upcoming Israeli elections that was tweeted by a cofounder of the virulently anti-Israel organization IfNotNow, which has accused sitting members of Congress of "dual-loyalty" to Israel.
"We can't turn a blind eye to the suffering that they're enduring at the hands of people that have endured great suffering themselves," Olivo wrote. "THEIR HOUSES ARE BEING BULLDOZED WITH THEM IN IT!"
Everyone thinks that if you side with the Palestinians then you’re anti-Semitic. WTF! We can’t turn a blind eye to the suffering that they’re enduring at the hands of people that have endured great suffering themselves. THEIR HOUSES ARE BEING BULLDOZED WITH THEM IN IT! #Godhelpus
— Christine Olivo (@Christinefor24) September 16, 2019
Olivo's claim, which was offered without evidence, is often deployed by Israel's critics to falsely accuse the Jewish state of carrying out the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in disputed territories.
While Israel has been known to knock down homes that are built illegally in disputed areas, including even Jewish homes, it has never been the country's policy to eradicate homes with civilians still in them.
Despite these facts, anti-Israel activists have used the home demolitions as fodder to defame the Jewish state and foster ill will globally toward its Jewish population.
In addition to her tweets on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Olivo has taken to Twitter to decry what she views as the Trump administration's hardline immigration policies.
In response to a recent news story on a Bahamian child who was separated from her family during the recent Hurricane Dorian and placed into a Florida shelter, Olivo vowed to protest until the young girl is released back to her family.
"Can you please keep us updated on this story [sic].," she tweeted to a Miami Herald reporter. "I’m going to His House today with a blow horn and I will camp on the sidewalk if I have to until this girl is released to her mother."
Olivo also has positioned herself as a vocal opponent of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, whom she called for to be impeached by Congress.
"It’s funny, but it’s actually not funny," the candidate tweeted on Sunday alongside a mocking Internet meme about Kavanaugh. "Sometimes laughing at the atrocities of this government is our only comfort in the midst of the pain. This man is not worthy of a seat in the #SupremeCourt and something must be done immediately. #ImpeachKavanaugh"
Olivo also has been a defender of freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), going so far as to call for a boycott of the ABC network over its running of a negative ad about the controversial member of Congress.
"How dare you contribute to the growing hatred in this country," Olivo recently tweeted at ABC. "Denounce this ad immediately or we will take our viewership elsewhere!"
Update Sept. 30, 12:25 p.m.: Following publication of this report, Christine Olivo reached out to the Washington Free Beacon to clarify her views. Olivo has since deleted the tweet in question and sent the Free Beacon comments aimed at clarifying her position.
"I made a comment on Twitter expressing my frustration with the Israeli government’s policies on bulldozing homes of Palestinian occupants," Olivo said. "Within hours I deleted it because of poor wording. I said that these homes were bulldozed with 'them in it.' Although, I meant that they were being occupied, many perceived it as if I meant they were inside as the bulldozers began demolition. I completely understand why people were upset and that is why I deleted the comment. While I do not agree with any policy that destroys a persons home, I now understand that this conflict is complicated and extremely sensitive. The beautiful part about this situation is that I have been able to meet great people from many different Jewish organizations that have provided an outpouring of knowledge and great conversation. The Jewish and the Muslim community suffer daily from hate and persecution. The ultimate goal is to fight for peace and love without dehumanizing others that are suffering injustice as well. I am frustrated that a tweet that I deleted in an effort to undo my contribution to being one sided, became published in a news article. However, I am grateful that it opened the door for me to be enlightened by different perspectives. Tony Robbins once said, 'To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.' I look forward to effectively talking about the issues that matter and working together with the different organizations that I have met through this discussion to do so."